SQ Chips VV was distributed as a bonus CD for customers who bought the (excellent) SQ Chips album from Japanese bookstore Village Vanguard. Unfortunately, this side dish does not live up to the high standards set by its main course. Its six tracks are largely uninspired, feeling like a halfhearted release of songs that were better left on the cutting room floor.
“Final Fantasy Prelude” is a speedy remix of a familiar tune that takes forty seconds to hit its stride and abruptly ends in just over a minute. Its brevity holds it back, which is a shame, because the ascending/descending notes have a mesmerizing quality. I was surprised to find another rendition of “Skullpion,” and this “Outtake Version” is only slightly different from the version found on SQ Chips. I found it preferable due to its slightly heavier use of drum and bass, but its inclusion is fairly throwaway.
The other half of the songs have very little arrangement whatsoever. “Chip de Chocobo” is a pedestrian rendition of the Chocobo theme that sounds like an unused Game Boy track. “The Place I’ll Return To Someday” is an egregious offender, with acerbic tones that were downright unpleasant to hear with headphones on. I will not be associating this version with my fond memories of Final Fantasy IX anytime soon.
The disparity in quality here is obvious, and I have to wonder if these tracks were left out of SQ Chips for a reason. Taken on its own, SQ Chips VV is a poor effort, but as a free complement to an outstanding album, it’s innocuous at best.